Having slow or spotty WiFi in parts of your home can be frustrating. Buying a commercial WiFi extender can help, but these devices can be expensive. Luckily, with just a few common household items, you can build your own DIY WiFi extender to boost your WiFi signal to underserved areas.

What is a WiFi Extender and How Does it Work?

A WiFi extender, also known as a wireless repeater, helps boost your existing WiFi signal to reach further throughout your home. It works by receiving the wireless signal from your main router or access point, then rebroadcasting and amplifying the signal to create a stronger secondary network.

WiFi extenders work by using the following process:

So in summary, a WiFi extender takes your router's weak signal from one area and amplifies it to create a whole new strong signal in another area.

Benefits of a DIY WiFi Extender

Building your own WiFi extender has several advantages:

What You'll Need

Let's go over what household materials are needed to build a simple DIY WiFi extender:

That's it! With just these basic supplies, you can build your own functional WiFi extender.

How to Build the DIY WiFi Extender

Building the WiFi extender using household items is a quick and easy project. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Configure the Second Router as a Repeater

First, access your spare or old wireless router's settings through a web browser. Navigate to the basic wireless settings, and turn off DHCP. This will prevent it from acting as the main router.

Then, find the setting to convert the router to "repeater", "extender" or "bridge" mode. This configures the router to simply extend the existing WiFi signal.

Step 2: Position the Router Near the Main Router

Place the second wireless router you want to use as the extender in an area that receives a good WiFi signal from your main router. This is typically halfway between the main router and the WiFi dead zone.

Use the router's web interface to see the signal strength reading from the main router's network. Pick a spot with at least 2-3 bars of signal strength.

Step 3: Connect the Two Routers with Ethernet Cable

Run an Ethernet cable from the LAN port on your main router to one of the LAN ports on the repeater router. This will allow the two routers to communicate and relay the WAN internet connection.

Step 4: Set Up the Directional Antennas

Now for the fun part - setting up the DIY tin can directional WiFi antennas!

Start by poking holes on opposite sides of two to four empty metal cans. Make sure all cans match in size and shape.

Thread string through the holes to create a loop on each can. Make the string long enough to change the position and angle of the cans.

Attach the loops to the antennas sticking out of the back of the repeater router. Spread out the cans in different directions to aim the signal.

Step 5: Find the Optimal Position

With everything connected, it's time to find the ideal position for your extender setup.

Slowly move the repeater router and attached cans around until you achieve the absolute strongest WiFi signal reading within the room you want to extend range to.

UseReal time signal monitoring in the router's web interface to properly position the DIY extended antennas. Pointing them in different directions can make a big difference.

Once you find the optimal location and antenna direction, your DIY WiFi extender is complete! Enjoy boosted WiFi coverage in previously unreachable areas.

Troubleshooting Tips

Here are some troubleshooting tips in case your DIY WiFi extender isn't working properly:

With a little tweaking, you should be able to get your homemade WiFi extender boosting your wireless signal in no time. Have fun Experimenting for optimal range!